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Monongahela Valley Hospital and Auxiliary Team up with Police to Fingerprint Local Children

Auxilian Gail Jericho cleans the hands of kindergarten student photo

At St. Sebastian School in Belle Vernon, Mon-Vale Health Resources Auxilian Gail Jericho cleans the hands of kindergarten student Ally Peden.
(October 9, 2013 - Carroll Township, Pa.)

You see their pictures every day on fliers that arrive in the mail and on community bulletin boards. They are the faces that once were on the milk cartons - the faces of some of the approximately 800,000 children ages 18 and younger who go missing in the United States every year. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the first three hours after a disappearance are the most critical when trying to locate a missing child. In an effort to help parents and law enforcement authorities locate their children if they disappear, the Community Relations Department at Monongahela Valley Hospital and the Auxiliary of Mon-Vale Health Resources Inc. have teamed up with local police departments to fingerprint kindergarten students in school districts throughout the mid-Monongahela Valley.

How Fingerprints Can Find a Child
If a child is missing, law enforcement officials can scan the child's fingerprints into the National Crime Information Center database. These fingerprints can then be used to help locate the child in a variety of ways. For example if a child whose parents are divorced is taken by the non-custodial parent and the child loses contact with the custodial parent, the two could be reunited when the child turns 16 and applies for a driver's license. When the Department of Motor Vehicles scans the teen's fingerprint, it is sent to the National Crime Information Center. The fingerprint would match the record of a missing child and teen and parent could be reunited. Likewise, if a teen runs away and is picked up for a minor crime such as shoplifting, when he or she is fingerprinted by authorities, the prints would be sent to the National Crime Information Center, it would show that the teen is a runaway and a reunion with parents could occur. These types of reunions occur largely due to advances in technology, increased education, continued collaboration between law enforcement agencies and programs such as that of Monongahela Valley Hospital and its Auxiliary that provide fingerprinting for children.

The Child Registry Identification Program was introduced at area schools in the fall of 1989. It is estimated that nearly 25,000 kindergarten students have been registered since that time. Barb Ferguson and Faye Hefner, co-chairwomen of the Auxiliary's Child Registry Committee, and Janet Cieply, MVH's community relations specialist, organize the Child Registry programs in local elementary schools.

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